Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has agreed to delay Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment hearing until October, bowing to months of pressure from the latter’s legal team.
Mandelblit announced today that the hearing will now be held on October 2-3, three months later than the July date previously mandated by the attorney general.
— Victor Asal (@Victor_Asal) May 22, 2019
This comes after Netanyahu’s lawyers yesterday asked Mandelblit to delay the hearing for at least a year due to the fact that it will deal with three separate corruption cases and there is, therefore “a large amount of material to be read”, Haaretz reported.
The attorney general had given the prime minister’s legal team until Monday to set a date for the hearing, but this deadline passed with no resolution.
The Attorney General has given Netanyahu until October 2nd to present his rebuttal of the coming indictment. Netanyahu had requested a years delay. The AG said no further delays will be given. Of course by then Bibi could have immunity. #israel
— Marc Schulman (@Multied) May 22, 2019
Today’s move will likely be seen as capitulation on the part of the attorney general, who for months has stood firm against pressure from Netanyahu’s legal team to delay the hearing.
Significantly, Mandelblit’s announcement will give Netanyahu time to form his coalition and take steps to make himself immune from prosecution.
Senior @Likud_Party Members: @netanyahu Might Call For Re-Elections. The sources disclaimed that Netanyahu will consider calling for elections once more if he sees no significant progress with the coalition talks during the upcoming week.https://t.co/XkKd060Gbp
— CJP Israel 🇮🇱 (@CJPIsrael) May 20, 2019
Netanyahu has been engaged in coalition talks since the April 9 election. However, after over a month of discussions and after having asked for a two-week extension to the deadline to form a government, the newly re-elected prime minister is struggling to bridge the divides between the various factions that he had hoped would make up his ruling coalition.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)